The Schooner Sara B Log

Back to indexPrevious PostNext Post

October 28, 2008     Post 24
Where Did Summer Go?

An outing with 2 lovely ladies and a crusty old salt

Each year we ask where did summer go? As days shorten and mist rises off the bay into fifty degree night air, old man Orion climbs the eastern sky in morning's wee hours. But we kept sailing through September and into October this year. Sara B left a fair amount of water astern since the last post here.

After her very short cruises to Sodus Bay and Main Duck in June, she settled in for a summer of day sailing taking friends and relatives out for a few hours of pleasure on summer days. She also made a brief foray into the world of work. As an experiment, we agreed to run a few Saturday afternoon and evening sunset sails with Sara B out of the restaurant dock that was her summer home. A couple of teen agers were recruited to assist Captain Sue, and a series of training sessions attempted to shape them up and convert them into old schooner hands. With limited success. Our first man over board session with a brisk 10 to 20 breeze in the bay was not encouraging- 8 minutes to recover the MOB. But at least we got in and out of the dock in good order.

Boats gather for the fest
Sara B ended up doing about a half dozen charters and after Skipper Sue added up the income and the wages she even came out a little ahead. However, Sara B's 'professional' captain decided the costs and hassels of paid work outweighed the benefits. So Sara B went back into retirement after mid August to once again become a lady of leisure. We thought she was done with cruising too, and then we got a call from Henry Spang- yes, the Bonnie Prince Charlie was coming to Oswego again and he needed a schooner...

The OMF Ontario, which was to participate in the re-enactment was unexpectedly side lined when she failed her Coast Guard inspection due to corroded bottom plates. ( Almost makes you glad to have a wooden boat!) Although the novelty of the event had worn off, we decided what the heck. We'll turn it into a short cruise and with Jim Aspenwall and Friedel Harrison, along with Chris and Sue aboard we went off to Oswego for two nights. We also took two supercargoes on that trip up, and it was a great little run with a brisk south wind giving us a broad reach under overcast skies. Schooners like their wind aft of the beam, and with a free wind and flat water, Sara B stepped along and in a little over two hours was settled in at the OMF compound for the night. The next day dawned gray and misty, but the clouds lifted and the mist cleared in time for our "amphibious assault" of Fort Ontario. We again used Edgar Denton's skiff, this year rowed by self and Jim A. And we again managed to deliver the Prince without getting his feet wet. Last year's actor was unable to attend so we made due with a young but willing substitute.

Woozel the dayboat
We skipped the highland games at the fort and went for a sail instead Saturday afternoon with a fine little west wind giving us a reach out over blue water under a clear early fall sky. The next day we sailed and motored home.

The other big event for Sara B was a home grown wooden boat fest, hosted by H and Bonnie Scoville, right there at the hotel so she didn't have to travel for that one. This was great fun and the variety of boats that showed up was impressive. There were canoes, 2 lapstrake double ended rowboats, a half dozen mahogany hulled runabouts, and Ramsey Luddington and his son Spencer showed up with the Tahiti ketch that attended the schooner gam in June.

There were also three sailboats supplied by Edgar Denton. One of them, a 22 square meter sloop built for the emperor of Annam back in 1928, was a stark contrast to the Tahiti ketch. She was 35 feet long with a six foot beam and entirely varnished mahogany. Edgar also contributed his pretty little sloop Shadow, a Bolger designed double ender, and his Tancook whaler built in Kingston to a Chapelle design. The double ended whaler has a shallower draft hull than the later schooners like Sara B from that island's boat designers and builders. The working whalers were centerboarders with inside ballast that were pulled up on the beach. Originally that was the plan for Edgar's boat, but he had his schooner modified for a shallow outside ballast keel cast from the lead pigs. Sounds like a great alternative to pulling 3000 lbs of lead from Sara B's bilges for the winter every year!

Elhanor leaves the fest
Two boats from Sodus Bay dropped by briefly, the Lotus and the Vanderbilt's Wheeler Playmate Elhanor. The old Wheeler is in great shape and has been a well loved family yacht for over thirty years. She's been running on straight veggie oil for about four years now with no problems. Sara B took a couple of visitors to the show out for a grand little sail with a sultry southerly wind that was the forerunner of hurricane Ike's last gasp. She reached over the swells with Greg and Naomi who had also visited for the schooner gam, along with several other guests including a first time sailor who had a great time riding the waves under sail.

Everyone I talked to thought the boat meet was a great success and there's talk of doing it bigger and better next year.

A spell of gloom and chill weather in late Sept cut down on sailing activity, but we did get out with a group of friends of the Pleasant Beach owners for a short fast sail again with flat waters and a gusty southerly. That day Sara B 's decks were pretty well filled with fourteen total - I didn't even pretend to catch all their names! It was one of the fastest sails of the year for us as under dark skies with a bit of an edge to the September wind, the old girl blasted down to Moon Beach, about five miles from Fair Haven, and then roared home again- She did the whole trip dock to dock in about two hours- and that included the slower pace of motoring against the wind to get back down the bay.

All aboard for the passage to Oswego - photo by Cathy Sommers
All too soon it came to an end. In October the days shortened, the first frosts coated the leaves and grass of the hollows and valleys and it was time to take masts down and haul out boats. This year both Sara B and Titania went on the hard up at the Fair Point Marina which has deeper water than the boat yard we had been using so we were able to extend their season considerably. Sara B stayed afloat until October 22. Once again the old truck got her spars home and once again Chris and Sue went mining for lead and lifted as much as we could from the bilge. We had a little bit of help from Mary, one of the marina workers. Then it was over. On a cool but sunny October afternoon she took her last short trip overland to her winter's resting spot.

Hard to believe it was a late October day 4 years ago, when we first saw the little schooner sitting behind her owner's house in Freeport Long Is. She's given us many hours of pleasure since then. She has served us well.

Sara B at Oswego - photo by Mad Peg

Back to indexPrevious PostNext Post